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The Grotto Of Massabielle, Lourdes

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The Grotto Of Massabielle, Lourdes The Grotto Of Massabielle, Lourdes Lourdes

Few places attract visitors on the scale of Lourdes. Over five million every year. It is not the home of Kings or Princes, but of an illiterate peasant girl who in February 1858 experienced 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary, in a small grotto near to her home. Her friends, and later large crowds who were drawn to watch her, saw nothing. Lourdes is now steeped in religion and the major attractions result from the events of 1858.

Here, at the Grotto of Massabielle, the young Bernadette, aged only 14, saw the apparitions. At the ninth, following instructions from the Virgin Mary to drink the water, she discovered the spring, Although there was no known spring, she dug into the dirt with her bare hands and a small puddle appeared. The spring began to flow, and reached a level of 27,000 gallons a day, which has been maintained ever since. It was after the 12th. Apparition that the first miracle occurred. Bernadette’s friend plunged her injured arm into the spring and it was healed. Since then 70 cures have been verified as “inexplicable” not “miraculous”. Many thousands of pilgrims now come to the Grotto in the hope of finding a cure.

A statue of the Virgin Mary stands at the point of the apparitions. On the ground, to the left of the grotto a stone plaque marks the exact spot where Bernadette stood. At the back and to the left of the Altar, you can see the flowing spring that Bernadette discovered.

During her seventh appearance the Lady instructed Bernadette to ask the Priests to build a Chapel by the Grotto for people to process there. This is the heart of Lourdes today.

Much use is still made of candles, which dominate the area of the Grotto and represent the light of Christ in the world.

Fact Box

Points of interest : A major Catholic phenomenon

Opening dates : Open all year

Guides available : Silence is requested at the grotto

Languages : English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch

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Address :65108 Lourdes
Telephone :+33 (0)562 427740
Fax :+33 (0)562 946095